OPINION: Recalcitrancy in Our Universities and Way Out

The recent finding carried out by the National University Commission (NUC) on Nigerian universities was a sad one. One of the findings shows that some universities are using mercenaries who teach in more than one university. The finding further disclosed that our universities are grossly understaffed, a situation that some school can only boast of one professor. These and many others were reported.

My focus is on the recalcitrancy that these ugly trend has caused. Today, it is a common thing that we have some educated illiterates among our graduates, and yet such a report on inadequate lecturers are handled with levity. How many lecturers are exhausting the time as required? A 1 unit lecture will require 15 lecture hours or 45 hours of practical. How many lecturers are doing this?

In my days in the school, I know of a lecturer that taught us for a duration of 45 minutes in one period! He hurriedly left to another class elsewhere. Another appeared on two occasions for the whole semester, and of the two, the first was for listing of scheme of work and selling of handout. The second being the last was for revision and revealing the Area of Concentration (AOC). The reason for this is not far fetched. These lecturers are not full-time lecturers. They are helping the students, as the government have not done the right thing. If a student is to record at least 70 percent attendance as the law has it, then tell me who is to blame if the lecturer did not come for classes. Don’t forget also that a student will be deemed to have technically failed if his/her attendance did not reach 75 percent.

Now the way forward. The government should increase funding in the education sector. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) benchmark on funding education should be adhered to. The UNESCO approves 26 percent budgetary provision for education, but we have not approved 10 percent not to talk of the said percentage. Harvard university is the number one today in ranking because of adequate funding. At disposal, Harvard teacher to student ratio is 1:10 respectively. A far cry from what is obtained here. The quality of education we require for our children education is too dear for us to toy with. Investing in our education will go a long way to increase our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It does not take being an Economic student to know this.

Another way out is the recent meeting of private varsity owners. Their resolution to publish names of their lecturers is commendable. The list will serve as a prerequisite for employment. The government should take a cue from this proposed plan.

These lecturers are not happy in this their moonlight business. They want to make both ends meet. The government should consider these lecturers. If a senator can be taking millions home, why not a lecturer. What is good for geese is good for gander. Today, we have Doctorate degree holders who are ready to work but cannot secure job. What an irony!

We don’t need researchers to elicit information for us on the high rate of recalcitrancy among Nigerian university lecturers. The reason is not far away from poor funding.

Nwanna is an educational analyst. For more, follow me on www.facebook.com/nwannao